Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas 2014

Christmas looked a little differently for us this year.

Because we had all been under the weather, we had to miss out on Christmas Eve services at church, and weren't able to visit Brian's parents on Christmas day.
We cannot wait to celebrate with them later in the week!

While we missed a lot activities, it was nice to be able to be home and enjoy family, food, and lots of fun. 
I just love bedhead and baby pajamas on Christmas morning.
And the look on Baker's face, priceless.
Baker got a kitchen set and some other fun goodies.
While my choice of Christmas breakfast looks more like Christmas breakfast casserole and French toast, I would have eaten a hundred more plates of broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower with this boy serving.

 We talked about Santa coming and left out tasty cookies, but when the presents were unwrapped and ribbons untied, it was his mommy and daddy receiving the biggest hugs.
This boy of ours has the sweetest, most gracious heart.

After celebrating Christmas morning at home,
we headed to my parent's.
We had a great big breakfast, opened presents, and had a wonderfully lazy day.
My mom got Baker a pair of glasses so they could be twins.
He loved them!






 We finished the day with a yummy dinner and sang Happy Birthday to Jesus.
Baker gladly blew out the candles.

My very favorite Christmas song is "O Holy Night."
O holy night, the stars are brightly shining.
It is the night of our dear Savior's birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
'Til He appeared and the soul felt its .
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices.
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn'.
Fall on your knees, O hear the angels' voices.
O night divine, O night when Christ was born.
As a mother of a two year old and another baby boy on the way, I cannot help but think of Mary.
When I look at Baker, and when I feel the swell of my stomach, I cannot imagine the emotions Mary was experiencing on that starry night in Bethlehem.
How she looked at Baby Jesus for the first time with the overwhelming love of a mother and knew that one day his life would be offered as a sacrifice.

What faith.
What trust.
What love.
What joy.
A baby boy, born in a lowly manger to a virgin mother, came to save our world, in sin and error pining.
Then he appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope.
I always get stuck on that line.
What hope we have in Him.
A thrill of hope, how our weary world rejoices.

The night our Savior was born was the most divine,
but tonight, and each night after,
we celebrate life in Him.
And that makes each night worthy of being called holy.
Happy Birthday, Jesus.
We are so glad you came.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Nineteen Weeks

Almost halfway there!

What I'm Eating - After having the flu all week and nothing tasting, well, tasty, I am enjoying all the things. I accidentally made the yummiest Chex Mix before Christmas, have had cravings for chicken and dumplings, and opened four packs of Skittles in desperate search of only the good ones (red and purple, duh!). 

Big Brother Baker - What is it about knowing there is a baby on the way that aged him so much so quickly?

Hello, heartbreaker.

Sleep - I don't know what happened here. Sleep went from slowly becoming my bestie to wanting nothing to do with me. I feel like we're in a high school romance. I will be slipping a note in its locker tomorrow in hopes of being on again next week.

Maternity Clothes - Christmas break means my wardrobe has consisted of my favorite sweatshirt and Victoria's Secret yoga leggings. Praise Be!

Size of Baby - He was exactly 8 ounces when we saw him last week. One half of a pound. What to Expect says our baby is the size of a large mango!

Baby Name - We're still at the drawing board with this one. We're hoping to decide pretty soon. I am ready to call him by name. And hello, monogramming all the things!
Gender - It's a BOY!!

We are already excitedly planning Baker's big boy room with twin beds. I have visions of them sneaking out of bed to play with trucks, and talking about hunting for the big deer, and scheming a Father's Day present for Daddy. They are going to be the best of friends. And I am over the moon.

Another boy to love. What an incredible gift!

What I Miss - What's to miss when Christmas candies and goodies are all that's on the menu?!?

Best Moment of the Week - Brian got to feel our baby boy kick for the first time on Christmas Eve! I have been feeling it pretty steadily for a few weeks now, and have been dying to share this special time with him. The look on his face when he felt his second boy was priceless.


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Accidental Chex Mix

Our family has been holed up for days with the flu.
Baker brought it home from school and shared the love with Brian and me.
That boy!
Today made the fifth day of being quarantined, and I was going stir crazy!
We snuck out bright and early and hit the drive thru of Bojangle's for some yummy biscuits because our shelves hadn't seen groceries for days.
I'm not sure I have ever experienced a marriage as divine as that of flour and butter.
Then we headed to clean the shelves at Publix.
Brian requested sausage balls (we love Plain Chicken's recipe) and Chex Mix, Baker wanted to make cookies for Santa, and I couldn't get chicken and dumplings off the brain.
For as long as I can remember, I have used Pioneer Woman's recipe for Chex Mix.
I love the little kick the Tabasco sauce adds.
When we got home and unpacked all the sacks, I realized I left Tabasco sauce off the list.
So, I did what all good women do, I improvised.
And with all the love I have in my heart for my buddy Ree, I will never do it her way again.

Here's what we used:
3 cups corn Chex
3 cups wheat Chex
3 cups Hot & Spicy Cheez Its
1 container mixed nuts
2 sticks of butter
5 tablespoons Worcestershire (I almost left it out because it's so hard to spell)
3 teaspoons seasoning salt
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
The red pepper flakes make all the difference.
They add a little zest even Tabasco sauce couldn't do.
Note: My husband is not a fan of pretzels, so we substitute spicy Cheez Its.


To prepare:
1. Combine first four ingredients (wheat and corn Chex, Cheez-Its, and nuts) in a  large mixing bowl.
2. In a medium saucepan (or microwave safe bowl), melt butter, Worcestershire sauce, seasoning salt, minced garlic, and red pepper flakes.

3. Pour liquid over dry ingredients, stirring until scrumptious butter concoction coats all pieces.

4. Spread evenly onto foil-lined cookie sheet.

5. Bake at 250 degrees for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

6. Try to save some for Mr. Claus.

Happy Christmas Eve! 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

We Wish You a Merry Christmas - Christmas Card 2014

I am positively smitten with our Christmas cards this year!
I love a good candid shot, and this may be one of my most favorites of the three of us.

(Card - Tiny Prints, All is Bright)
I think it so perfectly captures our family.
We share. We laugh. We smile. We love.
Thank you for letting us share our laughs, smiles, and love with you throughout the year.
I am continually amazed, and daily thankful, you share in our journey.
Since I cannot send a Christmas card in the mail to each of you, please accept this virtual Christmas card as our family's merriest wishes to you.
From our growing family to yours,
we wish you love and joy in the coming year.
We pray peace and comfort for you,
 and the ones you hold most dear.
Our friends, we blessedly wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
You can see our family's previous Christmas cards here:
Baby Baker, y'all.
I can't even take it.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Gender Reveal

I am forgoing my weekly pregnancy posts in favor of a fun gender reveal!
Three cheers for no selfies and divulging all the naughty things I ate this week (divinity and queso and caramel cake, oh my)!
I went for my 18 week anatomy scan yesterday.
Prior to our appointment, Brian and I prayed feverishly for the new addition to our family.
Before Baker was born, we didn't pray for a baby girl or a baby boy, we simply prayed for God to grow our family as He intended to bring glory to His name.
What a joy it has been to watch Baker do just that.
He is a walking running testimony of the Lord's goodness and grace.
That again was our prayer.
We prayed, boy or girl, that our family be used to honor Him.
What an overwhelming joy it is to know that He chose us to be called mommy and daddy by TWO BOYS!

How great our love abounds for this precious gift. 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

a picture is worth a thousand thoughts (or at least 12)

I thought all the thoughts when I saw this picture.

1. Somebody did an awesome job coordinating everyone's outfits.

2. I wish I could rock a belly as fabulously as my Baker Bell does.

3. How long will my baby boy let his mommy hold his hand for a picture? My heart is squishing into a muddle of push. A puddle of mush. Either way, it's squishy!

4. I married up! Check out that hot husband of mine!

5. Does Baker look five? It's back to John-Johns we go. These big boy clothes just will not do, especially not when I'm all dosed up on extra sappy hormones.

6. Pictures scheduled after work/school should not be allowed. Day old hair is not the best look for me.

7. The older Baker gets, the less he looks like me, and the more he looks like his daddy. For obvious reasons, I am okay with this.

8. I want all of the pictures for all of my days to include these people I love so much.

9. As my smile was being stretched, dozens of mosquitoes were going to third base with me. Note to self: Save your dress for the indoors. Outdoors in Alabama is for pants and Thermacells and citronella. 

10. As much as I am loving a fur vest this year, I have a feeling I will look back at this in a few years and think, like I have done so often, "What was I thinking?"

11. This is our first official family picture as a family of four. Our newest member had been cooking for about 14 weeks when this adorable shot was captured.

12. When this was taken, I was already thinking about today. The day we would learn whether we would be coordinating our next family picture with hues of pink of hints of blue.

At three o'clock this afternoon, we will know whether Baker will have a baby brother or a baby sister. We are over the moon excited!

Bring on the gender reveal!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Seventeen Weeks

I have decided bathroom selfies are the most awkward thing in all of the world!

What I'm Eating - I am still loving a Chick-fil-A lemonade, and have even allowed bits of caffeine in this pregnancy. I know, I know. The pregnant-with-Baker-me would never have been dreamt of touching that delightful red Starbuck's cup to my lips.
I have vowed to be more laid back this time and enjoy every minute, especially the ones spent slurping my beloved Caramel Macchiato. I am still eating between 4-6 oranges a day, love peanut butter by the spoonful, and insist upon a handful of Pirate's Booty puffs every day. Gummi bears still make frequent appearances, and strawberry congealed salad was concocted from scratch last week because I couldn't get it out of my mind!

Big Brother Baker - There are none as sweet as this precious angel. I love Christmastime with a two year old. Everything is magical in this season. He signs "beautiful" when he sees any Christmas tree, and joyfully claps along to my off key renditions of our favorite holiday tunes.

Sleep - I broke out the maternity pillow this week. Half of the occupants of our bed is thrilled (me), the other half (hubs), none too much.

Maternity Clothes - I am wearing maternity pants more comfortably now, but still haven't attempted any of the shirts. I can use my belly band with regular pants, but I much prefer an elastic waist. Can I get an Amen!?! Comfort is the name of the game, and I play it well!

Size of Baby - A pear! It's no coincidence pears are currently overflowing my kitchen centerpiece. Occasionally, I'll walk by, pick one up and get lost in a daydream, imagining the precious one growing so quickly, immersing him or herself into our wonderfully chaotic life.

Baby Names - My lips are sealed! Brian's too - and he doesn't crack easily. We aren't sharing potential names until we know our baby's gender and have decided for certain on his or her name. I forgot how difficult it was to pick the just right name. Oh the pressure!

Gender - We find out Thursday at 3:00. I may or may not know the exact number of days, minutes, and hours until that highly anticipated appointment!
 That means when I write my eighteen week post, we'll know whether we're having a boy or girl!

What I Miss - Right now I miss having the energy to do it all. Brian and Baker have been so patient as I pour dinner from a cereal box and doze during our bedtime prayer. I think this season is preparing me for life with two - sacrificing the unimportant, focusing on what matters, and trusting the Lord to handle the rest.

Best Moment of the Week - We went to hear our little love's heartbeat on Monday. After not being able to find it on our home doppler on Sunday, it was the most glorious sound in all the earth. His or her heart rate was a booming 148 beats per minute. I could have sat on that table with that goo running down my blooming belly for days and days just to hear our baby's beat. Our God, He's an awesome God!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Sixteen Weeks, a Proud Mommy Moment, Thanksgiving, and a Big Bama Win


What I’m eating: The better question is what am I not eating? Indigestion is starting to creep in slowly, so I have had to be more careful of what I eat. The food test usually involves the question, "Do I really want to taste this for the next 652 minutes?" If the answer is yes, it's a go! I love food not knocked up, so it's only natural that I love, love food with a bun in the oven. Speaking of buns and ovens, I think it's time for another snack.

Big Brother Baker: Baker loves all things Alabama football. It's only natural since Brian and I both graduated from The University of Alabama, and scream Roll Tide randomly throughout the day. We have been identifying the Alabama 'A' on all of our Bama paraphernalia with Baker. He loves spotting it on shirts, hats, jerseys, on the television, and even on flags while driving around town. While in the bathtub last night, we were playing with his foam letters. It thrilled my soul when he grabbed the orange 'A' and proudly proclaimed "ah, ah, ah, ah." I had no idea he could make the transfer. I'm in full on teacher mom mode round here and am sure he'll be spelling Saban in no time. I kid, I kid. It's only fitting that he learn Bear Bryant first. If you didn't see this video on Instagram earlier in the week, it's a must see! (Click on the image to watch, or you can access the YouTube link here).

Sleep: I feel like I'm back to first trimester with my sleeping patterns. I have been so tired this week.

Maternity Clothes: My best friend Kristen is pregnant too, (how fun is that?!?) and she shared some awesome black pants from Gap she bought. I am convinced that I could possibly wear them every single day until this baby says hi. I could kiss the designers at Gap and Old Navy for making affordable long maternity pants.

Size of Baby: Avocado!

Baby Names: We have narrowed down our list - four possible boy names and seven possible girl names. No judging, that's serious progress!

Gender: I have been screaming boy all along, but earlier this week, I suggested to Brian, "What if it's a girl?" While I don't know what we're having, I am certain of one thing, there isn't a baby in all the world who'll be loved just like this one. Baby Boy or Baby Girl, we already love you to the moon and back.

What I Miss: I always hesitate to say I miss something. I remember reading these while praying for a baby, thinking I would give up wine and caffeine and clothes that fit and anything else for all the days of my life just to be pregnant. I know what it feels like to be in that season, to long for a baby, and to cringe when people complained about some of the unpleasantries that accompany these nine months. So, while there are things I look forward to having again, there is nothing I miss greater than the joy that comes with this time.

Best Moment of the Week: This week was filled with wonderful moments. Our holidays were teeming with love, laughter, and food. We filled every possible minute with the promise of memories with friends and family.

Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours.

These girls are my favorite girls.
We were celebrating 30th birthdays, babies on the way, and engagements!
There is always something to celebrate when they're in town.
Brian and I were surprised with Iron Bowl tickets and a free babysitter for our birthday.
Roll Tide!



Saturday, November 29, 2014

29 in 29 - a completed birthday bucket list

Happy Birthday to Me,
Happy Birthday to Me,
Happy Birthday to Me-eee,
Happy Birthday to me!

Here goes. On the day I turn 30, I am looking back at the list I created exactly one year ago and checking progress to see just how well I did.

I will go ahead and tell you I didn't accomplish everything I set out to do, but I had a crazy good time doing what I did. It was a year of blessings and fun and memory making and brightening days and living with intention.

As I revisited this list throughout the past year, I crossed out and added links and/or pictures to anything I checked off, italicized anything in progress, and left undone those not yet addressed.

This is the original post from November 29...the day I turned 29.
In honor of my twenty-ninth birthday, my very last year as a twenty-something, before hitting the big 3-0, I am making a birthday bucket list.
A list of things I want to accomplish in what God promises to be a year full of even more than I could ever ask or imagine.
So, why not?

One. Spend an entire weekend free of social media - no blogging, no Facebook, no Instagram, no Twitter, no messaging, not even any Googling. Just me and my boys. We live in a world that says, "If you don't _______ (fill in the blank - tweet about it, take a picture of it, post about it), then it never happened." Well, shucks. I'm proving that way wrong.

So freeing. It's not something I could do often. I like the feeling of being connected, but the feeling of being fully present with my boys is a gazillion times better.
Two. Take off a day of work to volunteer at Baker's school. Here's to shucking my teacher badge for a whole day and wearing my mommy hat. Yippee skippy.
I even convinced Brian to join the fun! We rendezvoused for a fun breakfast date and then spent a fabulous Friday being Baker's mommy and daddy. We even got to serve at the Gene Stalling's golf tournament, and took advantage of a priceless photo op. We had so much fun we're already planning this in the upcoming year....when we're thirty. Womp. Womp. Womp.
Three. Buy a stranger's lunch.
 It was actually dinner. See here. While this one is technically accomplished, I will strive to do this over and over. Because it is way fun!
Four. Watch a sunrise. Watch a sunset.
For once, I let the snooze button sleep in. Totally worth it. Totally.
Five. Read a just for fun book. Read a devotional. Read a how-to book.

Love Does by Bob Goff
A Simple Act of Gratitude by John Kralik
Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver
The Pioneer Woman Cooks - Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl by Ree Drummond
For others, see my Summer Reading List
 Six. Share the gospel with twelve people. Ten seems too predictable, thirteen seems way scary.
Seven. Send an I'm thinking about you happy note to at least one person every week.

This is one of my favorite parts of each week - sitting down with my favorite pen and stationary, fancy address stamp, and sending happy thoughts to those I hold most dear.
Eight. Go on a fancy date with my husband once a month. Here's to high heels, and bright lipstick, and big hair, and dazzling, and wooing, and falling all over in love.

I love this one being ongoing. I think we'll promise to do this once a month for all the months of the rest of our forever 

We had our last of these (for this year at least) when we went to Nashville to celebrate our birthday weekend.

I mean, just look at him, who wouldn't want to date him for the rest of their forever?

 Nine. Do at least five spontaneous somethings - plan a vacation and leave in the same hour, eat something new off the menu at my favorite restaurant, make an unplanned purchase.

This is hard for a planner. Super duper hard.
Trip to Chattanooga. We transferred Baker from his crib to the car and hit the road for a fun-filled day trip!

A date with my biggest love on a school night. Talk about living on the edge!
Does an unplanned hospital vacation count?
This. A daddy and his boy and a favorite fishing hole. I am realizing that some of life's most precious moments are the ones I can't perfectly orchestrate.
Four words. Impromptu. Ice. Cream. Date.


Ten. Train for and run a race.

I bought a new pair of tennis shoes and running socks. They look really cute with my leggings. That's all I know for now. Baby steps, y'all.

Does a nine month race to the delivery room count? Consider this my training phase.
Eleven. Adopt a child from World Vision. I have wanted to do this since Baker was born. While I think it would be perfectly fine to choose any child, I want a boy or girl who shares Baker's birthday. Each year, as we plan his party, we will also help this new friend celebrate the day of his or her birth. Birthdays are special, and should be celebrated as such.

We haven't done this yet,;our hearts have been called to serving elsewhere at this point. But, I am still very open to this if the Lord opens this door for us.
Twelve. Get something waxed. Never have I ever, ever had any part of my body waxed. And as an almost thirty year old, I think it's a rite of passage.
"L'7 Weenie!
Yeah, yeah, Oscar Meyer even, footlong, dodger dog, a weenie!"
Sandlot, anyone?
Thirteen. Learn how to change a flat tire. Learn something new. Or at least how to pop my hood. Being married to a Mr. Fix It, I need to know none of these things. I think, as a woman of age, I should be educated.
This summer, I assembled a new desk, with tools and without my husband. And it functions. Perfectly. Don't miss those key details. And, for the record, I now know how to pop my hood. Boom. Maybe that will make oil changes slightly less embarrassing.
Forget the rest. As an almost thirty year old, I will delegate the rest. Smart women "of age" know their limits, and know when to sit back and let someone else do the dirty work.
Fourteen. Go to an Alabama football game outside of Bryant Denny Stadium. I have been to my fair share of home games, but it's high time I visit some of these non-championship winning SEC stadiums. Roll Tide, y'all.

Doesn't look like this one is happening this year. Big time bummer!
I was given birthday tickets to the Iron Bowl this year and cannot wait to celebrate in Bryant Denny!
Fifteen. Plant a garden with Baker. Grow fruits and vegetables. Eat them, cook with them, share them. Enjoy this. The dirt digging, and fingernail cleaning, and seed planting, and soil watering, and plant sprouting amazing process of things growing from the ground.
Blueberry growing, Blueberry picking. Blueberry eating. That, my friends, is how it's done.
Sixteen. Go to a movie. Buy a huge drink and a big bucket of popcorn. With lots of butter and zero regrets.
Seventeen. Kiss my husband in four different states.

Tennessee. Boom.
Florida. Bow Chicka Wow Wow Chicka Wow Wow
Alabama. Duh.
Mississippi. Check.

I'm okay with being an overachiever here. You know, for the purposes of this bucket list.

Eighteen. Go to the beach. Build sandcastles, keep Baker up way past his bedtime to experience the thrill of hunting crabs by flashlight, go on a dolphin cruise, take cheesy beach pictures in coordinating outfits, get airbrushed t-shirts made to commemorate the event.

Nineteen. Go to a concert. Preferably one that involves the outdoors and cowboy boots.
Twenty. Sit down in chair at the salon, sans pictures, sans specific instructions with pointing and measuring, and all the details of how I want my hair cut and styled, and say only, "Go."

Eeeekkk. That one took a lot out of me.

I'm not a hair color virgin anymore!

Twenty-one. Buy a fancy bottle of wine. No fancy occasion required.

Twenty-two. Do a service project with Brian and Baker.

We did this with our Bible Study class. It was amazing seeing families working together to love and serve our community through acts of kindness.

Twenty-three. Take a photography class.

Twenty-four. Join the Be the Match registry.

Twenty-five. Go on a girl's trip. Only friends. No children. No husbands. Tons of belly-aching laughter, inside joke sharing, memory making fun.

The best. No pictures allowed. What happens on a girl's trip stays on a girl's trip.

Twenty-six. Teach Baker the simple joy of cooking. Pancake batter head to toe, chocolate chips strewn haphazardly across the counter, syrup sticking to every surface. Yes, I think we will start with chocolate chip pancakes.

Twenty-seven. Test drive an impractical car. I envision something with only two doors, no top, great speakers, faster than law allows, music blaring.

Does a rental car count? I had a wreck and had to trade vehicles for over a month.

Twenty-eight. Go to an amusement park. Ride roller coasters, eat funnel cakes, buy the expensive souvenir pictures.

No amusement park, but we had a blast taking Baker to the Zoo!

Twenty-nine. Live intentionally. Love each day. Cherish those most dear. Be purposeful. Spread joy. Smell flowers. Read books. Hand write notes. Sing loudly. Skip in the street. Smile. Play board games. Walk barefooted in wet grass. Swing. Make homemade bread. Pick pecans.

I want this to be my purpose every single day. I am working on living a life with less clutter and more meaning.

Here's to a year of life loving, double dare taking, memory making, dreams coming true.